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Art and Science of Web Design, The [Paperback]

Jeffrey Veen
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Dec 28 2000 0789723700 978-0789723703 1
The skill it takes to be successful on the Web reach far beyond knowing code and rare is the designer that fundamentally understands the web at its core. This book is a philosophy of web architecture, a guide to fully understanding why the technologies work the way they do, and how to exploit that knowledge to build successful sites. Offering a wealth of practical, easy to implement strategies, the The Art and Science of Web Design can be described as a "what to do" book rather than a " how to do" book.
The Art & Science of Web Design will help you understand the Web from the inside. It is structured around core Web concepts that often get only a passing mention in books on Web design. This book is not a reference book or a style guide. It is your mentor, whispering in your ear all the answers to those ubiquitous questions, and reminding us that there are now new rules and new ways to break them.
Jeffrey Veen is an internationally sought-after speaker, author, and design strategist. For six years he created some of the most respected commercial sites on the Web as Executive Interface Director for Wired Digital. He is involved in standards work with the World Wide Web Consortium as an invited expert on electronic publishing. Veen is a columnist for Webmonkey, and was named by CNet as one of the "First Annual Web Innovators." His first book, HotWired Style- Priniciples for Building Smart Web Sites, is considered a milestone in the development of visual standards in Web design.

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From Amazon

When it comes to Web design, style guides are often too boring and predictable to capture the attention of caffeine-riddled Web developers. But not The Art & Science of Web Design; this book strategically equips readers to design sites effectively.

Jeffrey Veen, an established design guru and one of the creators of HotWired.com, has authored a carefully structured look into the undercurrents of Web design. Organized around the key development topics, the book is laden with a historical background of standards, features, and trends. Yet the topics are timeless and core to good Web engineering, so it's space well spent. The mix of expert opinion and historical explanation creates a well-rounded reader experience.

Issues such as interface consistency are explored within the unique paradigm of the Web, with the assistance of a sidebar to explain what "above the fold" means. Performance is discussed with an unusual twist: the current constraint on Web-browsing performance is actually good since it fosters creativity and more elegant design and development. This, beyond the usual design tips, is what makes this book special. Art & Science stays at a reasonably high altitude, dwelling not on the fine details of browser compatibility but rather on the key areas designers need to be concerned about. With his years of experience and knowledge of the legacy of traditional publishing, Veen has provided a great perspective on the dicey work of Web designers. --Stephen W. Plain

Topics covered:

  • Technology history (publishing, presentation model)
  • Interface consistency
  • Site structure
  • Interactivity and self-aware content
  • Browsers
  • Performance
  • Web advertising
  • Database-driven content

From the Back Cover

The Art & Science of Web Design will help you understand the Web from the inside. It is structured around core Web concepts that often get only a passing mention in books on Web design. This book is not a reference book or a style guide. It is your mentor, whispering in your ear all the answers to those ubiquitous questions, and reminding us that there are now new rules and new ways to break them.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The Veen Factor April 5 2004
I started making web pages back in the dark ages of 1996. In 1999 I was making streamlined web apps for Franklin that my coworkers and I used to make on the fly calculaitons and data lookups. Eventually, I was a staff web developer at schwab in san francisco and in tokyo, japan. I had heard of Jacob Nielson at useit.com, but only after using thousands of web pages and making hundreds of web pages myself and making dozens of web apps did I come across Jeffrey Veen's book "The Art and Science of Web Design." I cringed when I read that he wrote to avoid using images when you can use text. Everything seemed to be agains the grain and I felt like I was swimming up river as I read what Veen was writing, but only after years of experience have I learned to respect Mr. Veen and his infinite wisdom. A web site is only good if it achieves its purpose, which is access to information. And this occurs only through a site that possesses speed, simplicty, and clarity. Download speed is the most important, and meeting the user's expectations. A simple design that works is worth a bucket of gold. Only after making countless web pages have I finally taken Veen's philosophy to heart - make the web site simple and fast and don't dwell on the unnecessary frivolous pretty gifs and clutter that predominates on so many web pages. Simplicity. Speed. Clarity.
I hope that Jeffrey Veen writes another book. I highly recommend this book.
It's like Jeffrey Veen is a Web Philospher, and everything he wrote in the book is true, though for those raised on photoshop and obsessed with glossy web pages, it's hard to swallow the truth sometimes - less really is more. Make the site fast and make it simple.
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5.0 out of 5 stars One made for Dog-ears June 22 2003
Here's a book that's sitting on my desk and it's going to be there for good long time. I mark it up. A few weeks later I come back and look again. Good writers give you that. Yes, even about technical subjects, good writers deliver. This will be one of my dog-eared ones.
The graphics are done so well that I almost feel bad about marking it up. Colored tabs on each chapter make it easy to get back to particular sections. Screen shots of leading web sites are used generously when he's trying to make a general point of design. Full scripting to cover the examples under discussion are provided, in part, and then brought together as a whole. Well-developed and simple figures are used to make specific points. Each chapter contains several side-bars and other sections covering related information to the main.
The level of writing is aimed for someone with beginning level skills, but goes quickly to the more technical issues without leaving the reader behind. When Mr. Veen is leaving out information, as when he sidesteps error trapping for active pages, he points it out. The writing flows smoothly around what could easily be an unorganized collection of confusing hyper text jargon. I found myself reading through a section to find a quick answer to something I was working on, only to end up engrossed for an hour or more.
One of the most valuable parts of this book is the experience Mr. Veen brings to his discussions. "When I started out in this business years ago my first job was, in essence, to be a human Perl script," he states at one point before going on to describe how he, and others, went on to solve the problems of high maintenance sites. In another area he describes the business of information architecture and how it could mean success or failure for sites seeking to make a profit. For those of us who are seeking to make our way in the world of web design, few lessons could provide the knowledge that is presented here in clear and concise language.
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This is what a former college professor of mine from Nebraska probably would have called a "Platte River" book--i.e., "a mile wide and an inch deep." That's a bit of an overstatement, however, as it does go into depth in some areas while it skims the surface of others. But the book couldn't have been exhaustive, as each chapter is worthy of a book unto itself.
If you know everything there is to know about the art and science of Web design, then you're probably not looking to buy this book anyway. But if you're interested in the history of the Web and how it evolved, how it fits into our 21st century lives, its potential, its limitations, its assets, and its pitfalls, then this is a book for you.
For me, its value was giving the Web a context, and focusing on Web design as a discipline distinct from other media, such as print matter and television. By examining the Web and what it can and can't do, Web designers can put their work in perspective, exploit the Web's possibilities, and stop trying to make it do things it was never intended to.
I recommend it to Web designers and developers at all levels, but beware: as a couple of other reviewers have mentioned, the typos are insufferable almost to the point of distraction. You'll want to mark it up and send it back to the publisher for corrections.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Buy Veen's Book April 20 2002
Reviewed by:
Timothy E. McMahon, M.S.
Principal Web Developer
The McMahon Group
There are hundreds, if not thousands of books on web design and development out there for us to reference. While there are so many authors writing, there are far fewer worth spending your money on. Jeffrey Veen though is one worth the money.
Veen's book The Art and Science of Web Design is a lesson to all of us in web development that the age of specialization is drawing to an end. To succeed in this maturing field, we need to begin integrating our design, programming and usability skills into one cohesive package that provides value to our employers and value to our users.
The Art and Science of Web Design touches on many areas from interface consistency, to rule-based design to browsers. I've read scores of books on web development and without doubt, Veen's book was one of the most enjoyable reads and one of the more informative texts I've purchased.
This is one book worth adding to your personal library.
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Most recent customer reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars There ARE better books out there
I was disappointed by Veen's book. It seemed very banal, because, to me, he just appeared to be giving his opinion on a bunch of sites, and what was even worse, some of those... Read more
Published on Jan. 20 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars For people who loves to think !
I'm enjoying this smart book by Jeffrey Veen. He knows a lot about the "inside" of web development and gives you an organized vision of the process. Read more
Published on July 5 2002 by Enriquillo Rodriguez
2.0 out of 5 stars Try a different title
Two stars for what its worth. I'm dissatisfied with the way this book is written. Its not straight to the point and lacks substance. Read more
Published on June 1 2002 by Peter
1.0 out of 5 stars No use for this book
Of the many usability and design-oriented books I've had to slog through in search of useful and practical information, this isn't one of them. Read more
Published on Feb. 6 2002
1.0 out of 5 stars I haaaaaaated this book!
After reading several books on the science of web design (the Non Designer's Web Book, the Elements of Web Design, etc.), I was interested in seeing what this book had to say. Read more
Published on Jan. 13 2002 by Atomic Grrrrrl
2.0 out of 5 stars Nice to look at, but verbose and messy
A disappointment, given the author's guru reputation and the five star reviews here at Amazon.
All in all, an incoherent series of essays with no clear message and little... Read more
Published on Nov. 23 2001 by S Dutton
5.0 out of 5 stars Super Book
As one of the other reviewers stated, this book is more about the common senses "whys" of certain web design approaches rather than a "how to" book. Read more
Published on Nov. 15 2001 by "rahurd"
4.0 out of 5 stars Perspective from Someone in the Trenches
So many people seem to be obsessed with Jakob Neilsen that they forget that his is merely one point of view. Read more
Published on July 22 2001
4.0 out of 5 stars Great writing and typos
I'm writing this 'review' only because of the other reviews commenting on Veen's writing. There are a lot of typos; I was struck by every one of them. Read more
Published on July 22 2001 by Sam Slade
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